Why Procurement technology is not, in itself, the answer!

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In recent months, the amount of articles and blog posts written about the positive impact on procurement technology has grown exponentially.
If you believe the hype, then procurement technology is the answer to all of your problems!
Got a bad back – go invest in the latest procurement technology and you’ll be jumping around in no time!
Ok, I may be getting a little too flippant with the bad back analogy but you hopefully get what I’m talking about.
So the big question is: Is Procurement Technology the Answer?
And I’m here to tell you right now that, in itself, the overwhelming answer is NO!
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Don’t get me wrong, technology can play a significant part in your future success but it is an enabler, not the answer!
I’m sure that you read stories about technology projects failing, or costing much more than the original estimate. Most public sector technology projects tend to end up like this and if you’re not careful, this will be the outcome of your investment in procurement technology.
Why do I say this?
Well, for the last 25 years, I’ve been working on technology enabled change projects and that experience has highlighted the significant challenges, often ignored or underplayed, that have a massive impact on the success (or otherwise) of the project.
I’m often heard saying – the easiest thing in the world is to put the ‘icon on the screen’ – it’s significantly more difficult to get someone to ‘click on it’”
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And in a nutshell, there is the major issue.
To get ‘someone to click on it’ you need to have managed the change effectively and taken the people with you.
Moreover, you need to have streamlined the operational processes and removed the inerrant inefficiencies before you automate them.
Not to mention the need to take your supply chain partners on the journey and work with them collaboratively to ensure that the technology can interface effectively with theirs.
These tend to be undervalued as the momentum for technology integration takes pace and often investments are approved based upon fanciful return on investment estimates.
That’s why 75% of all projects fail to deliver the expected return!
So, before you dive head long into the ‘technology must be the answer’ hype, step back and develop a real plan of action that will;

  1. Review and streamline the existing (manual/ automated) processes operating within your business already
  2. Consider the impact on your supply chain partners and engage with them in the design and development stage
  3. Integrate a formal change management approach and engage with all stakeholders early in the process and frequently thereafter to ensure that you can effectively embed the technology
  4. Identify how you intend to monitor the project and the delivery of benefits after the technology has been delivered.

By doing this, you will not only get the ‘icon on the screen’, you’ll get your people to ‘click on it’ and most importantly, you’ll ‘deliver the benefits’ that procurement technology promises.
In my book – the C.O.S.T. Optimization Formula, I cover off these four elements in much more detail. You can download a Free copy now by clicking on the link below;